Mosquitoes are probably one of the most annoying guests you’ll ever have at outdoor parties, camping trips, or even in your own home. They suck your blood and leave you with distressingly itchy blisters or, worse, sick. Which begs the question: who invited these suckers anyway?
While most people would say it’s your light that’s attracting these blood-thirsty insects, they couldn’t be more wrong. Mosquitoes aren’t actually attracted to light.
However, they do use light for something else. One that is often mistaken for attraction but far removed from the actual truth.
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Does Light Attract Mosquitoes?
Simply put, mosquitoes are neither attracted nor repelled by light. As a matter of fact, most species avoid daylight entirely and wait for dawn, dusk, or evening to hunt to avoid the scorching heat. The same goes for artificial light.
But why do they seem to swarm around porch or patio lights?
Well, you could chalk up to one biological factor. Mosquitoes use light (preferably natural light emitted by the moon and stars) to navigate. They perceive these as a way to get from point A to point B. But, artificial light doesn’t actually attract them rather disorient them by the close proximity. Essentially, they find it hard to maintain a good navigation angle because these types of light sources often mimic natural light.
However, most mosquitoes actually maintain a distance from these. What you may actually be noticing swarming around your lights or bug zappers might just be normal flying insects like midges – which resemble mosquitoes but are actually harmless.
What mosquitoes are really attracted to are carbon dioxide, heat, and body odor. All of which have a minimal correlation to light but directly relate to living things like animals and us humans.
Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Ultraviolet Light?
Mosquitoes react the same way they do to natural light as they would with ultraviolet light. That’s why most bug zappers prove to be ineffective to these insects. Instead, these actually attract different flying critters, which may actually be harmless or beneficial to your native ecosystem.
The most bug zappers can do to mosquitoes is only disorientation to a certain extent, which is probably why the most effective mosquito traps don’t actually use light, rather carbon dioxide-based lures.
Where do Mosquitoes Go During The Day?
Most mosquitoes sleep during the day and become active once the sun sets – albeit for some species like the Asian Tiger mosquito that hunt during the day. This can be attributed to their innate biological clock that tells them to stay dormant during the sweltering heat of daytime. Because, for most species, foraging for food during warmer periods of the day can lead to dehydration and fatality.
With that said, where do they actually go during the day?
Often, mosquitoes find cooler environments near their feeding grounds. They seek moist and shaded shelters, which include nearby forest overgrowths like plants, grass, caves, or man-made structures such as basements, barns, cupboards, or even closets.
Do Certain Color Lights Repel Mosquitos?
You’ve probably heard by now that different colored lights can fare better in repelling mosquitoes. While inaccurate, it is relatively close to the actual truth.
We can put it this way, certain colored lights like red and especially yellow can attract FEWER mosquitos but not repel them. Basically, it makes us less visible to their senses.
The same goes for the saying that wearing dark-colored clothing can attract more mosquitos. It’s not actually the color but the absorption of light and heat that these hues have. Remember the basics. Mosquitoes are not attracted to light; they find carbon dioxide, HEAT, and body odor irresistible.
How To Keep Mosquitos Away
Now that we know that mosquitoes are not attracted to light, what can we actually do to deter or eliminate these pesky blood-hungry insects?
Fortunately, there are a few effective methods (including natural ways) to get rid of mosquitoes. Let’s explore the different ways of keeping these insects at bay and see which ones best fit your situation and home.
Mosquito traps are a popular choice for most homes as they provide a non-toxic method of repelling or eliminating these insects. However, it is significant to note that while most of these utilize ultraviolet rays (which are ineffective against repelling mosquitoes), these are often coupled with high-power suctions or vacuums.
Going by the biological navigational instinct of mosquitos, they will at some point find a way near these mosquito traps and, before they can turn back, will be sucked into the device. Similarly, those with electrical grids can zap them before they even notice what is happening.
As mentioned before, bug zappers aren’t the most ideal method to get rid of mosquitoes. But, in an outdoor setting, these devices can help with keeping them at bay through disorientation. Although, you may want to look at other more reliable options. These include neem oil, carbon dioxide-based lures, or in cases of infestation, foggers.
Use Plants To Repel Mosquitoes
Sometimes, the best way is the natural way. For example, citronella is a common and highly effective remedy for clearing out these pesky insects – be it candle form, sprays, or even the plant itself.
Other plant-based options like basil, lavender, and lemon balm can also prove to be quite effective against mosquitoes and will also leave your home smelling fresh and fragrant.
Stop The Breeding Cycle
As with most bug infestations, the best way to solve the issue is through eliminating the source. For example, termites can only be removed completely through the queen’s death, wherein lies the life source of the entire colony. With mosquitoes, on the other hand, there is no queen. So, what must be killed is their actual breeding cycle.
To stop the breeding cycle of mosquitoes, you have to find the area where they most frequently breed – often in wet and humid areas like shallow pools of water or garden ponds. From there, you can use different methods to eliminate the larvae, ranging from organic pesticides like cinnamon oil or apple cider vinegar to more aggressive options such as larvicide or bleach.
Just remember to keep in mind that mosquitoes are not attracted or repelled by light. The correlation that these might have to the swarm surrounding your backyard or patio is directly linked to carbon dioxide emission, heat retention, and of course, our very own body odor – which can permeate throughout in and outside our home.
Essentially, to prevent the unwanted attention of mosquitoes lies in prevention and action. Lights play a small role in the invitation of these pesky insects but can be utilized in your mode of elimination.